Don't just salute veterans, rally with them

Here's a surprise that the power elites really hate: many members of the one-percent are joining the "We are the 99%" protest movement.

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Don't just salute veterans, rally with them
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Here’s a surprise that the power elites really hate: many members of the one-percent are joining the “We are the 99%” protest movement.

I don’t mean that hedge fund billionaires are suddenly in the streets to show solidarity with millions of Americans who’re fed up with the systemic inequality and corruption infesting our economic and political systems. No, no – those swells aren’t about to dirty their Guccis with any street action. Rather, I’m talking about another, extra-special one-percent of our society – the soldiers who’ve been the “boots on the ground” in Washington’s misguided and bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Rather than marching in Veterans Day parades this year, thousands of vets from America’s abused “war class” have been rallying with the Occupy movement. They’re expressing their anger at being used in two senseless wars that enriched corporate contractors while the troops who’re lucky enough to make it home alive can’t find decent jobs and are shorted on the health and education programs they desperately need.

In New York, more than 100 of our nation’s soldiers proceeded in uniform from the Vietnam Vets Plaza to Wall Street, where they stood in formation in front of the Stock Exchange. “Corporate profits on the rise,” they chanted, “soldiers have to bleed and die.” The Powers That Be, far from offering the salutes that vets deserve (much less offering the help they’ve earned), deployed a line of New York police to block these peaceful protesters from the financial manipulators inside and another line of police on horseback wielding nightsticks to threaten them.

This was a disgraceful show of force against those who’ve fought our wars. The police should be looking inside the financial empires, not threatening protesters. But their action exposes just how perverted and corrupt the power elites have become – and why all of us should support this burgeoning democracy movement.

“US military veterans heed Occupy rallying cry,” www.businessweek.com, November 3, 2011.

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